Local ‘Super’fan birthday tribute

By on October 29, 2014
John Hamilton  (left)  reunited with Jack Larson after many years. Larson played Jimmy Olsen on the series, while Hamilton’s father portrayed Perry White.

John Hamilton (left) reunited with Jack Larson after many
years. Larson played Jimmy Olsen on the series, while Hamilton’s father portrayed Perry White.

At a very early age, area resident Jim Nolt became a fan of “The Adventures of Superman” television series.

Growing up in the ‘50s near Reinholds, he tuned in every week to the show and was mesmerized by Reeves’ portrayal of the Man of Steel, as well as his alter-ego, Clark Kent.

He knew, even back then, that the program was very special.

“It was one of the very first shows I ever watched. Although it was filmed on a modest budget, it promised and delivered everything a little boy of the ‘50s needed: action, adventure and mystery and yet, it had something more-it had George Reeves,” Nolt said.

“It’s a remarkable series, right up there with The Lone Ranger and I Love Lucy.”

Years went by and then in 1976, Nolt picked up a book on the now classic series entitled

“Superman: Serial to Cereal” by Gary Grossman, which rekindled his interest. This triggered a more than 40-year obsession with the show.

He quickly became an expert on Reeves and through the years has maintained several websites, as well as published a fan magazine for 12 years devoted solely to George Reeves.

Nolt even appeared on national television on a segment on Unsolved Mysteries which profiled the actor’s mysterious death in 1959.

As Reeves’ 100th birthday approached this year, Nolt decided that something very special should be done to recognize the occasion. As luck would have it, this year also marks what would have been Superman creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s 100th birthdays, as well.

Before long, Nolt decided that a weekend-long celebration would be held in California to recognize and celebrate these milestones. It would be a way to gather fans to show their appreciation for the series, which was originally broadcast over 60 years ago.

It would also be a sentimental way to thank the late actor.

The event – which took place in August and attracted more than 100 fans in attendance – was comprised of three elements.

The celebration kicked off Aug. 16 with a plaque dedication ceremony in Tarzana at the site where all five original cast members from “The Adventures of Superman” shot on location together.

Next, a luncheon was held later that day, which brought together fans, as well as actors and actresses that appeared on the program. This presented a special opportunity for those in attendance to meet and greet the many guests of honor, as well as show their appreciation for the series.

Special attendees from the series included Jack Larson (who played Jimmy Olsen); Laura Siegel Larson (daughter of the co-creator of Superman); and John Hamilton (whose father portrayed Perry White). Other special guests included Beverly Washburn, Jim Beaver and Ruta Lee, who all made on-screen appearances in various episodes.

 

Even Paul Burnbaum, who wrote the script for the feature movie “Hollywoodland” based on the last days of Reeves and starring Ben Affleck, were in attendance.

Although reluctant to attend at first, Hamilton shed tears of joy when he was reunited with Larson as they embraced. Noel Neill, who played the role of Lois Lane in the original series was not able to attend, but was there in spirit.

Personal reflections and memories, as well as several tributes to Reeves, filled the air as guests dined at the Beverly Garland Hotel in North Hollywood.

Reuniting actors and actresses from the show, as well as relatives of the Man of Steel’s original creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, was no easy task &tstr; it took 3 years to plan and organize the event, but Nolt thought it was worth it.

“The amazing thing to me is that fans from all over the United States and Australia came to thank George,” Nolt said.

The next morning, the event concluded with a tour of the Pasadena Playhouse, where Reeves studied and performed early in his career.

Along with the memories from the weekend, each person who attended also walked away with a special collector’s coin.

“In the end, the celebration was about friendship, generosity, respect for the creativity for those involved in the early days of Superman and the George Reeves television show,” Nolt concluded.superman logo

For a few hours, those who attended were magically transported back to their youth. I really feel I have done something worthwhile with this,” Nolt concluded.

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